The subzero temperatures were only one of the dangers explorer Frederick Cook (1865-1940) faced in his attempts to reach the North Pole. During his extraordinary and harrowing journey, he fought off arctic wolves and polar bears, lived through ice storms, almost starved on several occasions, and faced long and lonely hours of isolation. His book relates how he learned from Eskimos how to survive in the Arctic, hunting musk ox to survive, harpooning walruses, and traveling by dog sled. After his journey, he defended himself against the charges of fellow explorer Robert Peary, who claimed that Cook had lied about reaching the Pole. My Attainment of the Pole is not only a great read for any armchair explorer, it is also a controversial work that contributed to a dispute that lasted for decades.
Frederick A. Cook was an accomplished doctor, celebrated Arctic and Antarctic explorer, author, and self-proclaimed conqueror of Mt. McKinley. Robert M. Bryce, the leading authority on the two explorers, is the author of Cook and Peary: The Polar Controversy, Resolved. He lives in Monrovia, Maryland, near Washington, D. C.